We are all set!

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
    nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

-Psalm 103: 8-13 (NLT)

There is so much one can write about just those few verses! Fortunately for the reader, I don’t have the time to write everything I would like to write about them! So, I’ll just touch on some highlights.

I have been guilty of bringing up the same accusations over and over, even if the matter is supposed to be long since settled. I file things away in my mind under the category “To use in anger.” While I may be better than I used to be, I still have a long way to go. Thank God that He does not deal with me as I sometimes deal with others.

I can hold on to resentment, still being bitter and angry toward someone long after the offense has been committed — and I think I have “let it go.” A case in point is a family member I struggle with who I feel has wronged me and my wife. I sometimes get angry all over again when I think of the things he has said and done. Today I asked my Father to help me not only forgive them, but to look where I was wrong and be prepared to ask forgiveness, should the opportunity arise. While that may not be easy, I know it is essential to my walk with our Lord.

Quite often, I have asked forgiveness for things I have already received it for. I suspect that is something we all have done from time to time. Satan loves it when I hang on to guilt and struggle with accepting the fact that my loving Father in Heaven has already forgiven me because of the work of His Son on the cross.

“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
    and will never think of them again. -Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)

Father, forgive me for not having faith enough to remember Your precious Word. Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, I am forgiven and my sins are blotted out. May I always remember that You have removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Please open my eyes when the enemy tries to minimize your incredible grace and love for me as your child, hindering me from being effective in your service as a witness to others.

 

He Chose Us

If you are a Christian, it is not because of anything you did to obtain your salvation. I think that is a huge fact to be clear on in our understanding of the matter. As people, we all-too-often ascribe to ourselves more power and authority than we ought to. It is important to remember that, as fallen beings, we are too depraved* to desire having a relationship with God on our own. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place and then draws us to Jesus for our salvation. Do you fill the tug at your heart? Are you tired of asking yourself what it is all about and feeling that emptiness we all feel apart from Christ? If so, it sounds like He is calling you.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
-Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)

  The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it? -Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

Please don’t think you were born pure and somehow the world did this to you…
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. -Psalm 51:5 (NIV)

So, we’re sinful from birth, deceived by our own hearts and beyond cure. How do we ever find our way to God? We find the answer in John 6:  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. -John 6:44 (NIV)

*Deviating from what is considered moral, right, proper or good (courtesy of WordWeb)

Pure GRACE through FAITH

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” -Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)

Lately I have been getting a repeated message coming to me: As Christians, we are saved through faith in God and His tremendous GRACE. What Jesus did alone has justified us. That is the true gospel. Sadly, many churches today do not preach the true gospel, but mix grace in with some sort of works that must be done (or at least one must strive for) in order to please God and enter His kingdom. Quite often, preachers and teachers try to scare people into accepting Christ as their savior. On more than one occasion, I have heard some very descriptive sermons about hell. Is hell important? Of course. Jesus spent way too much time bringing up the subject for it not to be. Will it motivate someone to accept Jesus as their Savior? Maybe. But that does not seem to be what He wants. He wants us to love Him as He loves us. Teaching on the subject of hell certainly has its place in Christian theology, but it is our Heavenly Father who draws us to Him (John 6:44). We know that it is not God’s intention that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

Embrace His love and see the foolishness of life without Him. That is my prayer for those of you who may happen on this page and don’t know Jesus as I do.